The Monastery of Santo Spirito is the first Cistercian settlement in the valley of L’Aquila. It was built in 1222 by Placido of Roio on a piece of land donated by Count Berardo of Ocre. After the founder’s death in 1248, the monastery came under the auspices of the Cistercian Order and the Convent of Santa Maria in Casanova, near Penne. In 1330 it was already given in trust to the cardinals Maffeo and Francesco Barberini; in 1652 it was included in the list of the small monasteries abolished by Pope Innocent X.


The monastery is rectangular with high boundary walls which almost isolate it from the surrounding landscape. The internal space opens onto a square courtyard, originally a cloister and accommodating on each side, in the Cistercians convention, the church, the refectory, the dormitory and the chapter-room.

The main facade has only five openings: a driveway entrance with a pointed Burgundy arch, the pedestrian entrance and three elegant double lancet windows, one of which looks onto the main entrance called “spia piombatoio”.
In the church, with a pointed vault left unfinished, there are frescoes dating back to 1280 while in the presbytery, there are remains of paintings from the end of the 16th century, attributed to Paolo Mausonio. Frescoes featuring images from the life of Beato Placido and dating from the 13th century decorate the adjacent sacristy-chapel.